AN ULSTER UNIONIST WALKS THE STREETS OF LONDON by Tom Paulin

An Ulster Unionist Walks the Streets of London, by Tom Paulin

All that Friday
there was no flag –
no Union Jack
no tricolour –
on the governor’s mansion.

I waited outside the gate-lodge,
waited like a dog
in my own province
till a policeman brought me
a signed paper.

Was I meant to beg
and be grateful?
I sat on the breakfast-shuttle and I called –
I called out loud –
to the three Hebrew children
for I know at this time
there is neither prince, prophet, nor leader  –
there is no power
we can call our own.
I grabbed a fast black –
I caught a taxi –
to Kentish Town,
then walked the streets
like a half-foreigner
among the London Irish.
What does it feel like?
I wanted to ask them –
what does it feel like
to be a child of that nation?
But I went underground
to the Strangers’ House –

We vouch, they swore,
We deem, they cried,
till I said, ’Out…
I may go out that door
and walk the streets
searching my own people.’

 

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